Selection headache for Soper as Bann return to AIL action

Banbridge’s squad is wearing thin as they get back to All Ireland League action on Saturday.

Bann host Galwegians at Rifle Park (kick-off 2.30pm) this weekend.

Daniel Soper’s side were originally scheduled to have this weekend off before the home game against Galwegians was postponed back in November. The rescheduling, however, has caused a greater selection headache for the boss.

“We have four players who are unavailable because of pre-booked holidays now,” he explained.

“Unfortunately, they looked at the fixtures at the start of the season, saw a free weekend close to Christmas and booked holidays or to go skiing. We’re an amateur sport and it’s just unfortunate.

“We have a few injuries that we can’t afford at the minute too and our squad is really starting to get stretched.”

Saturday’s opponents have won five and lost just one of their league fixtures to date and Soper knows his side will be in for a tough game:

“Galwegians are going very well at the minute and they are a good side. This game will be a real challenge for us. If we turn up and deliver anything less than our best, we will get beaten.

“In the first game back after Christmas, we seem to have a habit of playing poorly so hopefully we can break that trend this weekend and perform to our best.

This game marks the beginning of a run of four straight All Ireland League fixtures but Soper isn’t thinking too far ahead.

He said: “We’re just taking things one game at a time. As a squad, we got ahead of ourselves at the start of the season coming off last year so I think the best thing we can do for now is to take each game as it comes and try to pick up a win each weekend.

“January will be a tough month for us. We’ve got a few hard games. Barnhall are up next and they’re a very good side. After that, Derry are always a tough team to play in the All Ireland League. It’s always a real battle against them. We started to find a bit of form before Christmas so hopefully we can carry that through to these games.”